Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Vikings
October, 27, 2013
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 44-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night:
What it means: The Vikings were blown out for the second straight home game. In between those games, they lost on "Monday Night Football" to a winless team. They've looked awful on national TV two weeks in a row. Head coaches don't often survive these kinds of developments, particularly when their team is 1-6, and it's fair to start wondering how much longer Leslie Frazier will be around. His only chance to salvage his job might be if the Vikings come down the stretch with some respectability, but the last time the Vikings lost to the Packers this badly at home, Brad Childress got fired.
Stock watch: Falling -- Christian Ponder. The Vikings might not have any reason to go back to Ponder the rest of the season after he turned in a tepid performance with Josh Freeman (concussion) out. Ponder threw for just 145 yards. The Vikings barely had the ball, but when they did, Ponder looked like the same quarterback he was before he lost his job, bailing early on the pocket and taking off instead of trying to drive the ball downfield. He threw away a pass in the second quarter with Greg Jennings open and waving for the ball in the middle of the Packers' defense, and Jennings looked frustrated with Ponder after that. The Vikings might just spend the rest of the year seeing whether Freeman can learn the playbook and give them something better.
Jennings does little vs. old team: With Ponder throwing just 21 times, Jennings had few chances to show up his former team. He caught just one pass for nine yards on three targets, while the Packers put Jordy Nelson in Jennings' old slot receiver spot and watched him torch Xavier Rhodes for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jennings might have stoked Rodgers' fire with a series of jabs at the quarterback over the summer; Rodgers looked particularly fired up after a couple touchdowns, and certainly got the last laugh in his first game with Jennings on the other sideline.
Got the time? The Vikings' defense has been among the worst in the league at getting off the field on third down all season, but they might have hit a new low on Sunday night. The Packers converted four third downs on their first drive and their first seven of the game, finishing the night 13-for-18 on third down. That helped Green Bay hold the ball for more than 40 minutes, punishing a team that's already ranked 31st in the league in time of possession. The Packers held the ball for 12:58 in the third quarter alone, as the Vikings ran just three plays.
What's next: The Vikings (1-6) head to Dallas to take on the NFC East-leading Cowboys (4-4) next Sunday.